Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Medieval Christmas Shopping - well nearly!

SAW made a special visit to the Moot Hall in Elstow on Saturday 15th December and were made very welcome by Gary Mudd, Assistant Curator, who gave us a short but fact-filled talk on the history of the building. The Moot Hall has stood on this spot for since the 15th century from its origins as part of the original Elstow Abbey, its associations with John Bunyan, (who at one time rang the Abbey bells), to becoming a medieval 'shopping mall'.

One of the building construction joints
identified by the children.

A carpenter's mark on one of the beams,
indicating the top side of the constructed
section, from which we can deduce
something of hoe the building was made.

Mark showed us how to look at the block-work
in this end wall of the Abbey Church, to help
identify that this wall was built after the original
Norman building was constructed.

In the Moot Hall the children learnt how to measure and record an old building and spent time examining the construction of the timber frames, trying to identify the joints and find the carpenters' marks.

Inside the Abbey Church Mark Philips pointed out differences in the stone construction and decoration that the children could use to help understand the age of an English church.

Many thanks to Clive Arnold and Gary Mudd of the Moot Hall Museum and the Rector Jeremy Crocker, for letting us explore these fascinating buildings.

We thought we might come back in warmer weather for a picnic!

Less Holmes and Watson, more Clouseau and the Laughing Policeman

On a very wet sodden day in November, SAW members used their powers of observation and detection to attempt to locate and record evidence of a simulated discovered dead body. Plastic skeletons had been laid out complete with shoes, items of clothing and personal items and the groups were taught how to deal with the scene.

The team leader collates the evidence.
Managing the evidence.

Marking and numbering the evidence.
The session leader taught the children about the procedure for treating the evidence field and undertsand how to respect the evidence and the treat it as if it were real so that someone had died.

Second team evidence photograph. 
Second team leader completing his records. 

Though very excited about what they thought they might find, the children treated the activity itself very seriously, although the chain of command was a little ropey in the first team! The second team, though generally more respectful of the operations strategy, did rather exceed their remit and managed to collect a substantial amount of 'evidence' that subsequently turned out to be litter! (The park rangers were pleased!)

First team evidence photograph.
The weather did get the better of us in the end and we trooped back to the warm with all the evidence and some rather 'leafy' skeletons. The session was a great success with the children and was oversubscribed, so we'll definitely do a similar activity in the future. We had a great deal of volunteer assistance, for which we are very grateful and a big 'Thank You' goes to W.S. for organising it all.